Newsbriefs: March 15, 2022

Vicarious Trauma and Language Professionals

Another refugee crisis is once again putting translators and interpreters in a position to help in a humanitarian cause. This will put many of these language professionals at risk of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and secondary stress because of repeatedly working with traumatic information.

Not only do language professionals witness the trauma, but they end up internalizing and channeling it during the translation and interpreting process. This can profoundly affect their well-being.

In collaboration with MasterWord Services, ATA is offering all translators and interpreters, both members and non-members alike, free streaming of our recent webinar Vicarious Trauma and Language Professions.

Please share on your social media network! #MasterWord #atanet.
ATA School Outreach Contest

Industry News

An Urgent Mission for Literary Translators: Bringing Ukrainian Voices to the West

The New York Times (NY) (03/10/22) Alter, Alexandra

A wartime effort to quickly translate work by Ukrainian novelists, poets, and historians is underway.

As Russian forces breached the border with Ukraine late last month, Kate Tsurkan, a translator and the associate director at the Tompkins Agency for Ukrainian Literature in Translation (TAULT), issued an urgent call for help on social media. She needed translators to get Ukrainian writers published in English. The response was swift and overwhelming.

Tsurkan, who lives in Chernivtsi, a city in western Ukraine, wanted to give international readers a glimpse of what ordinary Ukrainians are experiencing and to highlight Ukraine’s distinct literary and linguistic heritage. “We need to elevate Ukrainian voices right now,” Tsurkan said.

By bringing nuanced and reflective writing from Ukraine to English-language audiences, translators hope to emphasize the country’s distinction from Russia and draw attention to a rich cultural landscape that could be endangered under occupation.

“Translation in times of great historical upheaval becomes especially important,” said Ostap Slyvynsky, a Ukrainian poet and translator who lives in Lviv. “Over the last decade, we have finally learned to tell the world about ourselves, opposing what was once Soviet and now Russian propaganda. The world has finally seen Ukraine and understood us a little.”

The push to quickly translate work by Ukrainian writers has led to a loosely coordinated campaign among a small, close-knit community of literary translators. Much of the communication is happening in group chats, social media, and shared Google drives and spreadsheets.

“It does help people who are suddenly stuck under bombardment to feel that their voices are being heard,” said Boris Dralyuk, editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Review of Books and a translator of Russian and Ukrainian authors who has been commissioning, editing, and publishing war dispatches and poetry from Ukraine. “It helps to humanize this experience, to know what’s going through the person’s mind.”

Other literary outlets and organizations are also responding to the crisis by giving Ukrainian authors a platform.

Last week, PEN America, a literary and free speech organization, held an online forum with several Ukrainian writers, including Andrey Kurkov, the president of PEN Ukraine. Kurkov said he knew several writers who had joined the military, and others who were volunteering to help deliver food and other necessities. “This society is learning to live and survive in a time of war,” he said at the event. “We are all focusing on helping.”

Olga Livshin, a poet and translator who grew up in Odessa and Moscow and now lives in Pennsylvania, and her friend Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, a poet who was born in Ukraine and lives in Arkansas, recently organized “Voices for Ukraine,” a trans-Atlantic Zoom poetry reading. The event, which featured acclaimed Ukrainian poets and drew some 800 attendees, raised funds for UNICEF and for writers in Ukraine.

“So many of them are in a basement now, hiding,” Livshin said. “This gives them an opportunity to express themselves.”


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Philadelphia Needs Ukrainian Translators for Pediatric Cancer Patients Fleeing Ukraine

Philly Voice (PA) (03/05/22) Zucker, Noah

Ukrainian-language translators are needed in Philadelphia to help pediatric cancer patients being evacuated from Ukraine to the U.S. and other countries by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude is looking for volunteers with a biomedical background (science or medical, not necessarily MDs) who are fluent in English and can read Cyrillic (Russian, Ukrainian, etc.). The volunteers will cover one to two six-hour shifts per week to enter new patient data into the patient registry and facilitate communications with the command center and support teams.

St. Jude is also seeking physicians who speak Ukrainian and English and can support the translation of Ukrainian medical records into English. These volunteers will follow a flexible schedule with no specific shifts provided.

St. Jude, which first issued the call for volunteers on Twitter on March 3, said the response has been “overwhelming” so far, but that more volunteers are needed.

St. Jude has already helped evacuate hundreds of Ukrainian children with cancer to other European countries to continue their treatment. For some, the hospital helped facilitate their travel. For others who fled on their own, St. Jude assisted with obtaining and translating medical records and connecting patients to hospitals.

“Just a few hours after the Russian army started the aggression within the Ukrainian territory, we basically just jumped immediately to help coordinate efforts with our partners,” said Carlos Rodriguez-Galindo, director of St. Jude Global, which works with about 160 hospitals in 60 countries to help facilitate the treatment of childhood cancer.

“What we’ve done is to do our best to move the children both to physical safety, but also to ensure that they’re able to continue cancer-directed therapy despite the challenges,” said Asya Agulnik, who leads the Eurasia Regional Program.


U.S. Translator Helping to Shuttle Refugees to Polish Border

WHDH (MA) (03/14/22) Way, Bob

A U.S. translator who was working in Ukraine when the Russians invaded said he plans to stay in the country to help families get to safety.

Taras Petro, a U.S. citizen, said he found himself stuck in the country after some unfortunate events.

“I got COVID and couldn’t leave, and when I wanted to leave a couple of days right after the invasion, all the flights were cancelled,” he said.

Petro, who is staying just miles from the Polish border, said he decided to make it his mission to help those who are also still in Ukraine. He is now driving refugees 12 miles to the Polish border, where lines and wait times are painfully long.

“I’ve turned from translator to transporter,” he said. “Most of the day from morning to night I’m transporting women and children from the city to the border.”

“I put them up in an Airbnb out of my own pocket because I can’t just leave them in the middle of the street with two or three kids,” he said. “It is heartbreaking. It is troublesome and you can only do so much.”

Petro said Russian forces launched an airstrike on a military base near where he is currently staying, killing dozens of people.

“I saw one of the missiles flying past,” Petro recalled. “If, God forbid, that missile went another two or three minutes, it would have been at the Polish border.”

Even as Russia escalates its attacks on western Ukraine, Petro said he is not ready to leave and is willing to forfeit his own safety to help.

“My plan is to stay and be of as much use as possible,” he said. “All the help counts at this point, no matter how large or small.”


District of Columbia’s Second Attempt at Online Benefits Portal Still Has Incomplete Translation Options

DCist (DC) (03/14/22) Cuccia, Annemarie

Residents of Washington, DC who don’t speak or read English are having difficulty accessing District Direct, the DC government’s new benefits app and online portal, because it is not fully available in any language other than English.

The new system—which the Department of Human Services (DHS) launched last November both online and as an app available through Apple and Google—was supposed to streamline access for DC residents in need of assistance. But the portal has no built-in option for translation and can’t be translated through a user’s web browser. With the app, even if a device is set to use another language, only parts of the portal are translated, and the amount and quality of translation can vary depending on the particular language.

Advocates say that without complete translation options, non-native English speakers are facing a new barrier to obtaining benefits.

In hopes of getting the DC government to address the issue, Allison Miles-Lee, an attorney for the advocacy group Bread for the City, filed a language access complaint in December with the DC Office of Human Rights. Under DC’s Language Access Act of 2004, residents have the right to receive translation assistance for any public program or service if they speak a language used by at least 3% of the population served. According to Miles-Lee, this means the District Direct portal must be available in at least Spanish and Amharic.

Miles-Lee said the issue should have been identified and resolved before DHS released the portal. “There is nobody at DHS who is going to put pen to paper and help these people fill out applications,” she said.

“We remain committed to providing District residents with access to benefit applications and renewals in the most accessible ways possible to include language accessibility as well as utilization of technologies that streamline application processes,” said Kevin Valentine, DHS director of communications. He added that the agency is “fast-tracking” the translation of the online portal into Spanish and Amharic and that the updated version should be available within the next few months.

While nonprofits are always willing to help people submit applications, Nina McKay, a legal assistant coordinator at Bread for the City, said the lack of translation options means people trying to access benefits lose control over the process, even if their application is eventually submitted. That in itself is a problem, she explained.

“We never want someone to feel like they don’t have the option of doing something themselves,” McKay said. “We never want someone to feel like, ‘I would prefer to just take care of this on my own, but the only reason I am looking for someone else to do it for me is because I can’t understand it.'”


ATA News

ATA Mentoring—It’s Not Just for Newcomers

Mentoring is more than just for newcomers, especially when it comes to the ATA Mentoring Program!

Why would a translator or interpreter who’s been in the business for a while want to work with a mentor?
• To transition from a full-time employee to an independent contractor
• To look for ways to get a foot in the door with direct clients
• To consider a new specialization or expanding services
• To learn how to make better use of a CAT tool in their workflow
• To plan a career move from consecutive to simultaneous interpreting
• To find advice on marketing techniques and social media
• To troubleshoot relationships with project managers and agencies

Advice, encouragement, lessons learned, career guidance—the benefits of being a mentee can be crucial to a career or business.

Applications from interested mentees will be accepted through March 31, 2022.

Want to know more about the experience of being an ATA mentee?
Read “Tapping into the Expertise I Needed: My Experience as an ATA Mentee” in The Savvy Newcomer blog. Mentee Jessica Hartstein’s post not only takes stock of “goals achieved” but also offers specific suggestions for how to make the mentoring partnership work.

Become an ATA mentor
The ATA Mentoring Program is a chance for experienced translators and interpreters to give back to their profession. Click here to learn more about becoming an ATA Mentor.


Emoji and Emoticons and Stickers, Oh My!

Presenter: Holly Silvestri
Date: March 17, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved; 0.1 IMIA/NBCMI-approved; 1.0 CCHI-approved

Don’t be left speechless when an emoticon or smiley gets tossed your way! Attend this webinar for tips and techniques on handling graphicons in high-stakes legal and medical interpreting assignments.

You will learn how to:
  1. Identify the multiple factors that go into interpreting graphicons
  2. Comprehend the cross-cultural and intracultural difficulties of interpreting graphicons
  3. Prepare for the frequency of these images in high-stakes medical and legal encounters
  4. Handle graphicons when doing sight translations in legal or medical settings
Register now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


What Do Project Managers Do?

Presenter: Diana Rhudick
Date: March 23, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

Are you looking to expand your skill set and diversify your career? Attend this webinar to not only learn how you can add project management services to your business but also how understanding the job can improve your working relationship with agency clients.

You will learn how to:
  1. Recognize the tasks that make up a PM’s job
  2. Understand the skills needed to manage translation and interpreting projects
  3. Assess the tools and software PMs use
  4. Analyze what project management skills also apply to your own business
  5. Use the PM’s skill set when subcontracting on large jobs and working for agencies
Register now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


ATA Member Orientation Session

Are you missing out on member benefits simply because you don’t know they exist?

ATA has been busy rolling out initiatives one after the other over the last two years—from member discounts on CAT tools and the Inside Specialization podcast series to an industry-wide compensation survey, a new blog for established translators and interpreters, and quarterly virtual brainstorm networking sessions. Even long-time members may not be aware of everything ATA has to offer.

Learn how to access ATA benefits and services or just catch up on what’s new by attending this free one-hour member orientation session on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET. And be sure to bring your questions for a terrific Q&A session!

Free, but registration is required.

Note: This live event is an interactive experience with networking and sharing via Zoom’s chat feature. It will not be recorded. The next orientation session is scheduled for July 14, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET.


Middlebury Institute of International Studies Translation Interpretation Localization


ATA Board Meeting Summary: February 5-6, 2022

The ATA Board of Directors met February 5-6 in Los Angeles, California. A summary of the meeting’s actions, discussions, and ongoing committee work is online in the Members Only area of the ATA website. Board Meeting Summaries help members keep up with ATA news and activities—from the latest financial reports to plans for the Annual Conference to committee projects and activities.

Read the latest ATA Board Meeting Summary now!

From left, back row: Directors Manako Ihaya, Jamie Hartz, Robert Sette, Lorena Ortiz Schneider, Ben Karl, Meghan Konkol, Eve Bodeux, Robin Bonthrone, and Cristina Helmerichs. Front row: Treasurer John Milan, President Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo, President-Elect Veronika Demichelis, and Secretary Alaina Brandt.

The next ATA Board of Directors meeting will be held April 9-10 in Alexandria, Virginia. All ATA members are invited to attend.


Have You Watched This Month’s Free Webinar?

ATA offers members one free monthly webinar, available on-demand for 30 days. Don’t miss this month’s freebie!

Back Translation: A Specialized Market for Spanish-English Medical Translators
Back translation can become a solid revenue stream in an experienced medical translator’s business. There’s a steady demand from major clients—clinical trials, medical device companies, and the pharmaceutical industry are some of the biggest buyers in the market

But what does back translation involve, and why do clients request it? Watch this webinar to learn tips and best practices for back translation, including the linguistic pitfalls specific to Spanish-English medical and health care texts. If you’re an experienced medical translator, this is a specialty worth exploring!

Although this webinar is presented in English, the content deals specifically with Spanish-English back translation.


Understanding and Leveraging Cultural Differences

Presenter: Marcela Arenas
Date: March 31, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 1 hour
Language: English
Level: Intermediate
CE Point(s): 1 ATA-approved

While localization is commonplace in the translation industry, it is easy to overlook within your own marketing. Attend this webinar to learn how to use your cultural expertise to attract your local audience while retaining your competitive edge and brand identity in the larger market.

You will learn how to:
  1. Use cultural expertise as a competitive advantage for your T&I business
  2. Create a cohesive strategy for your personal brand
  3. Differentiate between authenticity vs. adaptability in your brand
  4. Understand cultural dimensions clearly and how they affect your cultural persona
Register now! ATA Member $45 | Non-Member $60

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


B2BB: How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests

Presenter: Marina Ilari
Date: April 6, 2022
Time: 12:00 noon U.S. ET
Duration: 45 minutes
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): None

Get ready to tackle your next translation test with a new mindset! Join this webinar for a better understanding of the process, with plenty of useful tips to make sure you’re ready for the challenge.

You will learn how to:
  1. Understand some of a client’s typical expectations in testing
  2. Analyze the challenges presented in this kind of assessment
  3. Maximize your chances for success
Register now!
Free to ATA members, but you must sign up by 10:00 a.m. ET on April 6. Click here to register.

If you have already registered, check your inbox for to find your invitation to join. Email if you cannot find it.


ALC on the Hill!

Help strengthen the voice of the language industry! Join the Association of Language Companies (ALC) for their March 23-25 advocacy event ALC on the Hill.

Why attend?
It is critical that elected officials hear from their constituents on issues that matter to the language industry. Members of congress are most influenced by the people who vote them into office.

Congressional Meetings
Virtual meetings with congressional offices will cover worker classification issues and other obstacles that keep us from providing language access services.

The virtual meetings with Capitol Hill offices are arranged in advance, typically with your specific congressional representatives. ALC will not be able to arrange meetings based on your addresses for those registering after March 18, 2022.

International participants are encouraged as it brings a broader perspective of the industry and collaboration worldwide.

Register before March 18 to have appointments with your representatives scheduled for you.

Who can attend?
Registration for ALC on the Hill is open to ALC Members and members of ALC’s partner organizations. This includes ATA members.

Review the ALC on the Hill schedule.

Contact ALC at or call (756) 494-6866.


ATA Virtual Brainstorm Networking Session

Find solutions! Make connections! Join your colleagues for this fun, fast-paced hour of solving common business challenges in small teams.

Registration is free and open to ATA members only!

Attend this virtual event on April 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET to meet new people, learn new skills, and expand your support network while sharing your own experiences.


Back by Popular Demand! Keep Your Spanish Sharp

Presenters: Diego Mansilla, Izaskun Orkwis
Dates: April 23-24, 2022
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. U.S. ET
Duration: Two 2-hour sessions
Language: English
Level: All
CE Point(s): 4 ATA-approved

Even seasoned translators need a refresher on Spanish grammar. Most of us learn it at an early age and rarely revisit the rules. This gap between theory and practice, along with changes to spelling rules made by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), will be the focus of this workshop aimed at translators who want to make sure that their Spanish writing is spot-on.

Join this virtual workshop to learn key aspects of Spanish terminology, verbs, rules of agreement, punctuation, and capitalization. Leave with tips that will help you write more confidently in Spanish. The instructors will also share useful sources to help you solidify your understanding of these topics.

This event was organized with the assistance of ATA’s Spanish Language Division.

You will learn how to:
  1. Apply the changes in Spanish spelling rules made by the RAE in the last few years
  2. Watch for issues when translating verbs
  3. Avoid common terminology pitfalls
  4. Navigate differences between English and Spanish punctuation and capitalization rules
Register now! ATA Member $180 | Non-Member $240

Special Notes
  • This virtual workshop consists of two 2-hour sessions on two consecutive days.
  • Due to the interactive nature of this event, the workshop is limited to 30 participants.
  • To get the most out of this learning opportunity, attendees should plan to use both audio and video.


Coming Up in the March/April Issue of The ATA Chronicle

Summary of the ATA Compensation Survey
To address the need for a comprehensive picture of the market for translation and interpreting services, ATA recently conducted a compensation survey. The ATA Compensation Survey serves to provide professional practitioners and others with an overview of the income and pay rate data of translators, interpreters, and company owners working in the U.S. (Ted Wozniak)

Becoming a Mentor: Giving Back and Leveling Up
Mentoring someone isn’t just about sharing wisdom, passing along expertise, or supporting the development of (future) colleagues. Mentoring is also expected to benefit the mentor. Whether you’re working with a student, a new professional, or a colleague, the interactions you have as a mentor will lead you to reflect more critically and deeply on your professional practice. (Rachel E. Herring, Doug Bowen-Bailey)

Dynamic Duos: How Interpreters and Speech-Language Pathologists Collaborate to Serve Children with Disabilities
Interpreting and speech-language pathology are professions centered in language and communication. So, what happens when these worlds meet? Learn how speech-language pathologists and interpreters in Minnesota have collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Education to develop dynamic training workshops to help language professionals serve linguistically diverse school districts. (Elizabeth Watkins)

Literary Translation: Finding Focus in Its Fuzzy Borders
What makes literary translation challenging is also what makes it interesting. A good translation should respect and reflect the author’s style and vocabulary, but this doesn’t mean that every single word or phrase you choose has to perfectly resemble the author in style and effect. Let’s explore some of the frequent challenges faced by literary translators, such as making the voice of a character sound authentic and translating names and places with intentional meanings or symbolism. (Petra C. Rieker)

Interpreting in Rural Communities
Language access services that provide community interpreting remain concentrated in urban centers. As such, rural communities must rely upon remote access, a model that fails to account for the cultural specificity of rural life and livelihood. How are interpreters in rural communities adapting to meet the increased need for language access? (Thomas Genova, Tammy Berberi)

Access to The ATA Chronicle’s searchable archives is available online! And don’t forget to check out the latest issue of the Chronicle Online.
News summaries © copyright 2022 Smithbucklin

March 15, 2022

Which is your most frequently used payment platform?

See the Results!

Previous Poll Results

Who handles your business taxes?
37% = I do
3% = Family member
0% = Employee
57% = Accountant
3% = Tax preparation chain

In This Issue

Vicarious Trauma for T&I
ATA Mentoring Deadline
Webinar: Emoji
Webinar: PM Skill Set
Member Orientation
Board Mtg Summary
Member Free Webinar
Webinar: Cultural Diff
B2BB: Translation Tests
ALC on the Hill
Virtual Networking
Workshop: Spanish Sharp
The ATA Chronicle

ATA Members Only

Free ATA Webinar!
Back Translation: A Specialized Market
Click to watch!

ATA Workshop

Keep Your Spanish Sharp
Apr 23-24, 2022
10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. ET
Registration open

ATA Webinars

Emoji and Emoticons and Stickers, Oh My!
Mar 17 @ 12 noon. ET
Registration open

What Do Project Managers Do?
Mar 23 @ 12 noon. ET
Registration open

Understanding and Leveraging Cultural Differences
Mar 31 @ 12:00 noon ET
Registration open

ATA Member Orientation
Apr 12 @ 6:00 p.m.
Free to ATA members!
Registration open

Back to Business Basics

How to Successfully Tackle Translation Tests
Apr 6 @ 12 noon ET
Free to members!
Registration open

Calendar of Events

ATA Mentoring Program
Deadline: Mar 31, 2022
Learn more!

ATA Board of Directors Meeting
Apr 9-10, 2022
Alexandria, Virginia

ATA Virtual Brainstorm Networking
Apr 13 @ 8:00 p.m. ET
ATA Members Only, Free
Registration open

FIT World Congress
Jun 1-3, 2022
Varadero, Cuba
Learn more!

ATA63 Annual Conference
Oct 12-15, 2022
Los Angeles, California

ATA Webinars Live and On Demand
Continuing education anywhere, anytime!

Advertise with ATA!